Marketing Execs Should Get Closer to the Local Level

Q&A With Marc Pritchard, Global Marketing Officer, Procter & Gamble

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BATAVIA, Ohio ( -- Beginning July 1, the largest advertiser in the world will integrate all brand functions at the corporate level. That means Marc Pritchard will add design and PR to his control and the moniker of global brand-building officer to his title. Here Mr. Pritchard talks about how Procter & Gamble organizes itself globally and what it asks of its agencies.

Marc Pritchard, global marketing officer, Procter & Gamble
Marc Pritchard, global marketing officer, Procter & Gamble
Ad Age: As one of the bookends of its evolving marketing order, P&G has "brand franchise leaders," general managers and above with global oversight of all brand-marketing functions for P&G brands covering more than half the company's roughly $80 billion in sales. Are your brand franchise leaders always a global role?

Mr. Pritchard: We think about them as global roles. The brand will drive how many countries you're in. For example, we've got a brand franchise leader on Bounty, which is largely a North American business. We've got a brand franchise leader on Pampers. That's a very global business.

Ad Age: On the truly global brands, doesn't that leave a lot of decisions for one manager to make?

Mr. Pritchard: While they have a global scope, we ensure we have resources in the regions at the local level, so they connect with the global folks. One of the better examples is Pampers. Earlier this year we did something called the "Golden Sleep" initiative. It focused on our overnight diaper. It originated in China interestingly enough, and the whole concept was that a full night's sleep for a baby is a night of golden sleep.The diaper is absorbent enough to allow the baby to sleep all night.

That traveled into the U.K. and all through Western Europe and then ultimately traveled to Egypt, [where the idea] was more comparing it to cloth. ... We went to the Egyptian Pediatric Association, for example, to get their endorsement. We went to villages with mobile vans to make sure we did local events to explain the benefits of this product.

Ad Age: Is a truly global campaign still an exception or increasingly a rule?

Mr. Pritchard: More and more there are core brand ideas that then can turn into global campaigns. My experience with brand franchise leaders [is] you can get about a 20% increase in the percentage of projects that can travel globally in a pretty quick time.

Ad Age: Since you expect so much of your growth to come from developing markets in the next 15 years, what are the implications of that for developed markets?

Mr. Pritchard: There's still a lot of opportunity [in developed markets]. A lot of our existing products still have a lot of trial potential upside, because they're still in some cases below 25% [in percentage of consumers who've tried them].

Ad Age: If I'm a marketer coming to work today in a developed market, particularly with the company looking to decrease the number of expatriate executives, doesn't that limit my career potential?

Mr. Pritchard: I don't think so. I think it's going to open some opportunities for people. The expat reduction was just trying to get it back in line with where we had been a few years ago, and I think we've got that pretty well handled now. And it still provides plenty of opportunities for movement.

I'd like to see marketers get experience at the local level. I think they can do that everywhere: getting the basic experience at store level, making sure then you get experience at design, getting experience with marketing.

Ad Age: How's the brand agency leader model working, and do you expect it to be universally adopted by P&G brands?

Mr. Pritchard: We've piloted it in several areas, and now we've got close to a third of our sales there. It's working well because what it really does is allow us to integrate the communications and make sure we first and foremost get the best ideas and then ensure that it's executed in a way that's synergistic and holistic.

Gillette did a Champions of Gaming idea, and the idea was beat a champion to become a champion. They worked with EA Sports and Xbox to create an idea where you could beat Tiger Woods or Roger Federer. [It included] TV commercials and PR events. It really came together because of the BAL [Omnicom Group's BBDO]. We're just seeing example after example now of where this is working, and I'm hearing many business leaders saying they wouldn't go back.

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